Abramson Cen­ter in Hor­sham cel­e­brates its cen­te­nar­i­ans

Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Caitlin Burns


Few se­nior care fa­cil­i­ties can boast of hav­ing numer­ous cen­te­nar­i­ans in their fa­cil­ity. At the Made­lyn and Leonard Abramson Cen­ter for Jewish Life in Hor­sham, though, staff and fam­ily cel­e­brated the lives of 21 res­i­dents who will be 100 or have sur­passed a cen­tury in 2013 March 21.

“We have to have one of the largest groups of cen­te­nar­i­ans in the com­mon­wealth,” Abramson Pres­i­dent and CEO Carol Irvine said. She be­lieves more of the cen­ter’s res­i­dents live longer be­cause of the tai­lored care staff pro­vides. “,W’s fiJurLnJ RuW whDW [rHsL­dents] have al­ways en­joyed do­ing and main­tain­ing that.”

To back that the­ory, the 21 cen­te­nar­i­ans at Abramson only have the cen­ter in com­mon. There are 20 women and one man who come from di­verse back­grounds and en­joy dif­fer­ent things. Di­rec­tor of Re­cr­era­tion Sarah Humes, who as­sisted in putting the cel­e­bra­tion to­gether, said 11 of the cen­te­nar­i­ans are from Philadel­phia, three from other re­gions of the coun­try and six from other coun­tries. She said they vary from home­keep­ers to book-keep­ers and range in ages this year from 100 to 104.

In to­tal, Humes said, among the 21 cen­te­nar­i­ans, there are 44 chil­dren, 91 grand­chil­dren, 97 great­grand­chil­dren and three great-great-grand­chil­dren.

“We take peo­ple’s abil­i­ties,” Humes said about the tai­lored pro­grams at Abramson, “and we help WhHP IuO­fiOO WhH WhLnJs WhHy wDnW WR IuO­fiOO.”

She said th­ese dreams can be any­thing, in­clud­ing trav­el­ing, ath­letic ac­tiv­i­ties or re­li­gious pro­grams. Humes said the im­por­tant thing is to help the res­i­dents con­tinue to live.

How­ever, many of the cen­te­nar­i­ans have their own opin­ions on why they’ve en­joyed a long life.

“My main tip to peo­ple is ev­ery day that you live, you should learn one new thing,” 100-year-old Frank Ger­son said. He is the only man among the cen­te­nar­i­ans. “And ev­ery day that you awaken, you have a choice: you can be neg­a­tive or posi- tive. I de­cide to be pos­i­tive con­tin­u­ously.”

Ger­son’s fam­ily and friends said no mat­ter what is go­ing on, ev­ery day he wakes up and says its a “fab­u­lous” day.

The 20 women of the group shared sim­i­lar ideas about stay­ing pos­i­tive.

“Live a nice, clean lov­ing, sin­cere life — that will take you through ev­ery­thing,” 101-year-old Dorothy Sch­langer said. “A sense of hu­mor is also im­por­tant.”

“From 1913 to 2013 was quite a stretch. I went through ev­ery­thing ... poverty, the Holo­caust, the de­pres­sion, and raised three chil­dren,” soon to be 100 Clare Bit­man said. “It’s hard work. vou just have to live through it.”

In cel­e­bra­tion of the group’s mile­stone, each cen­te­nar­ian was hon­ored with a spe­cial ci­ta­tion from the Com­mon­wealth of Penn­syl­va­nia. Ad­di­tion­ally, each re­ceived a stained glass frame from Abramson.

“This is more than I could have even imag­ined,” res­i­dent and co-plan­ner for the cel­e­bra­tion Mar­i­lyn Snader said. “This is won­der­ful for all th­ese won­der­ful peo­ple. I am very happy to be here on this spe­cial oc­ca­sion. It’s nice to look around and see all th­ese beau­ti­ful peo­ple.”

Rabbi Debrah Co­hen, Abramson Hospice Spir­i­tual Care Co­or­di­na­tor, con­grat­u­lates res­i­dent 101-year-old Dorothy Sch­langer March 21.

Abramson Cen­ter res­i­dent Ann Brown­stein, 102, at­tended the cel­e­bra­tion with son Len Brown­stein.

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